Your dear editor Thomas came up with the idea of writing pieces on why opposing fans should hate our teams in the lead up to the FA Cup final this Saturday. I thought it was a brilliant idea and immediately said yes. He'll have one on why Villa fans should hate Arsenal at 7500 to Holte [editor's note: they got that posted before this went up!], but I relished the opportunity to come here to The Short Fuse, one of my very favorite sites on SB Nation, and tell you why Villa are loathsome (and, in all likelihood, why we Villa fans love them so).
And then I started thinking. Why would people hate Aston Villa? And it became tough to come up with much of anything. I don't think this is simply bias, either. We just don't have a lot of hate-able personalities or characteristics surrounding our club. I mean sure, Philippe Senderos deliberately tripped Mario Balotelli back in September, but 1) that's a Liverpool player, so I'm sure no one really minded, and 2) Senderos has been given karmic retribution by the football gods and has been injured forever.
That's about all I could come up with in terms of dirty play that makes us loathsome. I mean, it's not as if we have Luis Suarez on our team, or we're coached by John Carver. If you're a West Brom or Birmingham City fan, you probably hate Villa, but that's simply because it's in your DNA (inferior people often hate their betters).
But, I love a challenge, so I dug deep and came up with a few things for you.
Well, this is the obvious one. When Thomas proposed these articles, I actually joked that I would just write "Tim Sherwood" 75 times, hit the 150 word count limit we need and be done. I mean, given the reaction of the footballing world when Aston Villa hired good ol' Tactics Timmy, I figure pretty much everyone hates him. And I get it! He's a pretty unlikable guy! He's brash, he's got an ego the size of Villa Park, and he thinks he's the greatest manager to ever manage.
His win ratio is second to none. His teams "look like a Tim Sherwood side" by winning. His maniacal celebrations are absolutely over the top. And nobody, nobody, loves Tim Sherwood as much as Tim Sherwood loves Tim Sherwood.
But for Villa fans, he's our unlikable guy. Remember, he followed in the footsteps of Paul Lambert. The dour Scotsman who made you think that he was constantly stuck in a Glasgow rainstorm. He led Villa to five wins in twenty-five matches this season and never really seemed all that bothered by it. He showed all of the emotion of a comatose Vulcan.
So Sherwood is a breath of fresh air for us. And it's pretty obvious that he knows it and is playing it up. So yeah, he's annoying. He's everything Spurs fans warned us he would be. If he wins the FA Cup he will absolutely give Piers Morgan a run for most insufferable person in England. And we love it.
We're sort of boring
Aston Villa scored only 31 goals this season in the Premier League. It is only through the grace of Burnley that the number wasn't the lowest in the league. What it was was the lowest in Aston Villa total in a league season. It was five below their tally of 36 in the 1969-70 season in the second division. And yes, they played four more matches then, but this season's goal rate of .8157 per match was even lower than the .8571 of that dour '69-'70 effort.
Our highest scorer this year was the legitimately exciting Christian Benteke. He had 13 goals in Premier League play, and that's actually fun. After that? Gabby Agbonlahor with six. Gabby Agbonlahor is a player who has precisely one skill: speed. His goals are almost never entertaining (except for the entertainment value of pure shock when he actually finishes an opportunity).
And then it just gets depressing. Tied at three apiece are Andi Weimann and Tom Cleverley. You may recall the latter as the Manchester United reject who, until recently, could be best described as "a lad who doesn't do much wrong or right." That's what we have to rely on for excitement. So if you're expecting a 5-4 shootout, you probably won't get it. I don't watch Match of the Day, but my guess is that Aston Villa took the last spot on that show more than any other team in the league. And for good reason, too.
We're wildly unpredictable
Looking to survive a relegation scrap and traveling to White Hart Lane? 0-1 victory. Looking to do the same and facing worst-in-the-league QPR at Villa Park? 3-3 draw. Liverpool at Anfield or at Wembley? Wins. Liverpool at Villa Park? 0-2 loss. Villa had a 3-4-5 record against the teams who finished 14th-20th in the league and a 4-2-6 record against teams who finished 5th-10th. That's 13 of 36 points from the bottom quarter of the league and 14 of 36 from the second quarter of the league. That makes no sense.
I think you're starting to get the picture. Villa are a team who can show up and absolutely dazzle. They dominated Liverpool in the Cup semifinal, and actually totally outplayed Manchester City at the Etihad a few weeks ago in a match that they lost thanks to a few questionable calls. They have also lost recently to Burnley, Newcastle, Stoke, and Hull. And in all of those matches, they looked like the worse team.
Now, that's not generally a bad thing, but it's incredibly annoying. You Arsenal fans will be looking to figure out what's going to happen on Saturday. In our previous matches this season you've beaten us by a combined eight goals to zero. That kind of two-leg play could have seen you beat even the mighty Monaco!
But with Villa being so stupidly unpredictable, I actually have hope that we can pull off the win. Matches that we can expect something from usually end in claret and blue sadness. Those in which we're supposed to be trounced have often surprised us.
So hate us because you have no idea what to expect from us. Hate us because this match is likely to be boring. And hate us because our manager is a pompous windbag. But if all goes as we hope, we'll give you another reason to hate us:
We kept you from retaining the FA Cup.